While most residents of Greenville County, South Carolina have proudly evolved with the times politically and much change has come in recent years to the county that is home to Spartanburg and Greenville, the region is no stranger to major anti-LGBTQ controversy.
It’s come knocking at the door again, 21st century style, as Greenville County councilmember Joe Dill has proposed – at the behest of the county’s Republican party – a potential ban on books with LGBTQ themes from the youth literary sections of all public libraries.
According to the website greenvilleonline.com, 23 people showed up to speak about the proposed ban, and none of them spoke in support of Dill’s proposal.
“Authoritarian governments ban books, not democratic republics,” said Leslie Johnson, who founded the Greenville chapter of PFLAG nearly 30 years ago.
Nearly all of the county council members were on hand September 22, at the beginning of the session, but only four remained by meeting’s end.
Response to the unanimous proposal from leadership of the Greenville County Republican Party came after their September 12th resolution calling on the county council to remove books with LGBTQ themes and place them with adult books.
While Dill has said he consulted with the county attorney regarding a resolution, at press time there was no confirmation it would come to a vote.
“Book banning is illegal, and it’s been illegal for a long time,” Alan Chaney, Director of Legal Advocacy for the ACLU of South Carolina told council members during the meeting.
Another council member present in the chamber, Ennis Fant, assured Greenville County residents there would not be a successful attempt at passing a policy to ban books.
“I can promise you, if it comes, it won’t go very far,” Fant told the audience . “I can promise you there aren’t seven votes to do that in 2022.”
In 1996 the same county, in response to the Atlanta Olympic committee’s acceptance of openly LGBTQ athletes, announced that the “homosexual lifestyle was incompatible with living in Greenville County.” The move backfired, leading to the Olympic committee making the decision to reroute the legendary Olympic Torch completely around Greenville County.